Getting the article out early this week so you’re prepared for the Thanksgiving games! Hope you and your family/friends have a great Thanksgiving, and don’t forget to enjoy some football too! If you’re looking for QB/TE/DEF streaming options, check out the recently published Week 12 Waiver Wire article.
Non 3-down RBs with decent projected game script and/or matchup:
Latavius Murray, Jerick McKinnon, Ameer Abdullah, Alfred Morris, Samaje Perine, Joe Mixon, Dion Lewis, Kareem Hunt, Tevin Coleman, Jonathan Stewart, Alex Collins
Non 3-down RBs with not-so-great projected game script and/or matchup:
Orleans Darkwa, Jordan Howard (worried, but still starting him), Doug Martin, Frank Gore, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch
Sanu has been playing great this year, and has really earned the trust of Matt Ryan, especially in the red zone. He had 3 TDs in his last 4 games, and goes up against Vernon Hargreaves, who is a liability against the slot for the Bucs. Keep in mind that Sanu hasn’t put up huge yardage totals, so you’re banking on a TD from him, but it’s hard not to stay in the flames when the matchup is this good.
Maclin disappointed last week in a good matchup, but the Ravens just didn’t need to throw the ball much while shutting out the Packers. This week, he goes up against Kareem Jackson, who has given up the most fantasy points to slow WRs in the last 4 weeks. Maclin is playing well this year, and I would try to have him in my lineups this week for some upside.
Tate doesn’t have the best matchup against Terrance Newman in the slot, but if Xavier Rhodes covers Marvin Jones, Matt Stafford is going to have to depend on Tate. I expect Tate to see a healthy number of targets this week, and Tate is as reliable a they come when he gets volume. He was averaging close to 100 yards per game the four weeks prior to last week, and I expect him to bounce back at home this week.
I’m only playing Stills is Matt Moore is the starting QB this week. Jay Cutler is still in the concussion protocol as of Wednesday, so it’s viable that Moore will get the start. Moore has an affinity, and some would say love affair, with Kenny Stills, who has been a borderline WR1 when Moore behind center for the Dolphins. I will blindly play Stills regardless of matchup with Moore as QB. He’s had 11 TDs in his last 17 games and 8 TDs in his last 11 games with Moore as QB. Even in Moore’s debacle against the Ravens several weeks ago, Stills (still) outproduced the other Dolphins WRs.
Anderson has been on fire, so I’m hoping the bye week didn’t cool him down. You probably heard: he’s caught a TD in each of his last 4 games. Keep riding him, as James Bradberry isn’t playing as good as he was earlier in the season; he’s giving up 0.38 fantasy points per route run against him, and the 8th most fantasy points to WRs lining up on his side of the field in the last 4 weeks. Anderson moves around the formation a ton, so while he’s in the slot, he gets to take advantage of Captain Munnerlynn, who’s contributed to the Panthers giving up the 5th most fantasy points to WRs in the slot the past 4 weeks.
Fun fact: Denver, yes Denver, has allowed the most passing TDs in the NFL this year. That’s the same amount as the Texans. That’s bad. Who’s good at scoring TDs? Michael Crabtree. Crab lines up on the left side of the field on a majority of his routes, which means he will mostly see Bradley Roby, who is the achilles heel of this secondary. Roby has allowed the most fantasy points to his side of the field, so Crabtree has a sneaky good matchup this week against Denver. Weird.
Monitor his hamstring issue, which can have him sidelined this week. It’s apparently a minor issue, but I can’t take a hamstring injury lightly. If he practices this week and is good to go for Sunday night, I would play him hoping to take advantage of Green Bay’s secondary, who has been in the middle of the pack as far as giving up fantasy points to slow WRs. When Big Ben is at home against a middle of the pack defense, however, he usually tears them up. He’s not as bankable as most of these other starts, but it’s hard to sit a guy with upside in this offense in a good matchup.
Could this be Corey Davis’ breakout game? Davis shouldn’t see too much of standout corner Rashaan Melvin against the Colts, as he plays on the opposite side around 56% of the time. Pierre Desir will be a huge mismatch for Davis, and the talented WR can do some damage in this game. The Colts have already given up the 6th most fantasy points to WRs lining up on that side of the field in the last 4 games and the 3rd most this entire year. I don’t expect Desir to be much an upgrade to the recently cut, struggling CB Vontae Davis, so Corey Davis should be able to take advantage of him. Davis is a bit of desperate start, but since he’s getting the targets, he should be able to put it together in this matchup.
Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder
I’m playing both of these guys against the Giants. In the beginning of the year, we wouldn’t dare to be this bold against Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but they’re just not the same guys this year, for whatever reason. They’re both allowing fantasy points, as Jenkins is allowing the 5th most fantasy points to WRs lining up on his side of the field in the last 4 games, and DRC is allowing the 6th most to slot WRs in the last 4 games. Kirk Cousins will need to find these guys after losing Chris Thompson for the season, so expect their targets to be a bit more set in stone moving forward.
It’s sad when Hilton is in this section, but at least he’s not in the Sit section like he usually is. Tennessee has a very beatable secondary, although they don’t give up too many big plays. I wouldn’t start Hilton if Jacoby Brissett isn’t cleared from the concussion protocol, but I expect that Hilton can find the open spots against this Titans defense. He’s desperate because he hasn’t been getting it done, but if I had to bet on any of these guys, I would bet on Hilton at home.
When Amendola has a good matchup, we all want to start him. The problem is that he’s had a few of them and didn’t produce because Brady went elsewhere with the football. He does have a great matchup this week against Miami, who’s given up the 3rd most fantasy points to slot WRs. So if you have him on your roster and don’t like some of the other matchups on your team, I’m okay throwing Amendola into your lineup hoping that they choose to exploit the advantage.
As of Wednesday, Will Fuller has yet to practice. If he doesn’t play, I’m okay playing Ellington in PPR leagues with an expectation of 5-7 targets. The Ravens secondary is tough, but the nickel CB Maurice Canady has given up 0.42 fantasy points per route run against him, so if they target him they can be successful. They wanted to get Ellington involved last week, and he put up a solid performance catching 6 balls for 63 yards; I’m expecting something similar this week.
This is assuming Hurns will play this week, but he hasn’t practiced as of Wednesday. Monitor his status through Friday and through the weekend. Patrick Peterson will be shadowing Marqise Lee, so Blake Bortles will have to throw the ball elsewhere. The Cardinals have not been good defending the slot, giving up the 8th most fantasy points to the position. Tyrann Mathieu is giving up the most fantasy points per route run against him compared to the others in the Cardinals secondary. If Hurns doesn’t play, we can pivot to Dede Westbrook as an even more desperate play, but viable one in PPR.
Wallace isn’t dependable, but he has shown that he can put up the occasional good game. This week can be one of those weeks, as the Ravens are going up against a Texans secondary who gives up the 4th most fantasy points to WRs in half point scoring. Both Kevin Johnson and Johnathan Joseph have not been good on the perimeter, and Wallace can sneak past them on a big play or a TD in this game. Joseph has given up the most fantasy points to WRs lining up on his side of the field in the last 4 weeks. Wallace is a good desperate start this week.
Golladay plays a majority of his snaps on the outside, so if Marvin Jones is covered by Xavier Rhodes, that leaves Trae Waynes left to cover Golladay. That’s a plus matchup for Kenny, as Waynes has given up 0.33 fantasy points per route run against him, and has been targeted more than any other Vikings defender. Golladay has been producing in his limited work, and this can be a bit of a breakout game for him. It’s a bit desperate, but it’s a calculated desperate play.
We have to think that the Bills will try and exploit the matchup on the opposite side of Marcus Peters, which has been a huge liability for the Chiefs. Picking a WR in this offense is a tall task, and predicting that one of them will actually do well is even tougher. However, when you’re desperate, you’re desperate, and we’ve seen Jones come on recently with Tyrod. With Kelvin Benjamin banged up, I’m ok playing Jones in a deep PPR league.
After the Panthers traded Kelvin Benjamin and rookie WR Curtis Samuel got hurt, there are some targets to go around. Greg Olsen is coming back this week, but there are always concerns in starting guys who come back from a multi-week injury. Shepard can provide some PPR value in deep leagues, and he’ll be going up against Buster Skrine, who’s allowing a healthy 0.36 fantasy points per route run against him and the 11th most fantasy points to slot WRs in the last 4 weeks. Desperate times…
Goodwin’s the #1 WR for the 49ers, and CJ Beathard is getting the start this week against Seattle. Beathard has shown his desire to go deep to Goodwin, who has speed to beat anyone in the NFL. With Richard Sherman now out, the Seattle secondary can’t necessarily lean towards the opposite side anymore to help. Goodwin lines up on the left side of the field on most of his routes where Shaq Griffin resides, and he’s been giving up the 11th most fantasy points to WRs in the last 4 games. I expect Goodwin to at least challenge this secondary with the chance of providing a big play or two. He’s definitely boom/bust, so he’s an upside play.
Going up against the Jaguars secondary ain’t easy, but I’m not benching him in any PPR format. As good as Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye have been on the outside, Aaron Colvin has been just as good in the slot, allowing less fantasy points per route run against him than his counterparts on the perimeter. Always tough benching Fitzgerald, so I would only do it if I have another good option.
Funchess should be started since he will get volume in every game, but he will most likely be shadowed by Morris Claiborne, who is allowing a stingy 0.27 fantasy points per route run against him. Funchess is a bit receiver who can body corners, so I’m not as worried, but Claiborne has been pretty good this year. Treat Funchess as a WR2 this week.
Green will most likely be shadowed by Jason McCourty, but I wouldn’t sit him. Green is elite, and many owners have been panicking about his usage and production. McCourty has been playing well this year, allowing only 0.2 fantasy points per route run against him. I would temper my expectations and maybe compensate elsewhere for a higher ceiling, but Green will be in my lineup.
Dez hasn’t been producing elite value this season, and he’s going up against an elite corner in Casey Hayward this week, who will be following him around the field. Dez has struggled against good corners, so I’m ok sitting him if you have a better option. Dak Prescott hasn’t been good lately, and I’m not convinced that it’s only because of him missing LT Tyron Smith.
Xavier Rhodes will most likely cover Jones this week, and that is not a good thing. Rhodes has given up 0.19 fantasy points per route run against him this year, and has shut down his side of the field when he plays his side. With a good chance that he follows Jones around the field, I’ll be trying to find another option this week.
Remember, he had a pretty good game last week while being covered by the best in the league in Patrick Peterson. I’m not benching him unless I need some serious upside to get a win this week. The Ravens have been limiting fantasy points to wide receivers, but if anyone can find holes in this defense, it’s Hopkins.
Diggs will be shadowed by Darius Slay this week, and if you had any doubts that he might cover Adam Thielen, Slay rarely covers the slot. Diggs is close to an elite WR, and he’s very hard to bench. We wanted to bench him against the Redskins stout perimeter defenders in Norman and Breeland, but Diggs was able to make plays and even score a TD. He’s a playmaker, and we can’t leave him out of our lineups. Diggs is as good of a cover corner as they come, so just temper your expectations on Diggs in tomorrow’s Thanksgiving matinee.
Jeffery should be started because he will see some of his time on Kyle Fuller’s side of the field, but most his time will be spent on Prince Amukamara’s side. The Prince has given up the 2nd least amount of fantasy points to WRs lining up on his side of the field in the last 4 games, and the 3rd least the entire season. In other words, he’s shutting it down. Fuller, on the other hand, has allowed the single most fantasy points to WRs on his side of the field this year, and 2nd most over the last 4 games. I’m sure the Eagles will move Jeffery to that side a bunch to take advantage of that matchup, which is why he’ll remain in my lineup this week. Just temper your expectations in case they can’t take advantage of those limited opportunities.
Patrick Peterson will be shadowing Lee in this game, and I don’t think Lee is anywhere close to an elite WR where he could challenge Peterson and put up a good game. I’m leaving him on my bench and trying to find a better option.